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EPA’s 2016 Resolutions: Acquire More Power, Increase Regulations

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

With the start of a new year, President Obama and his army of unelected bureaucrats are resolving to acquire more power and increase regulations. Throughout his tenure, President Obama has shown that he will do anything to achieve his personal policy agenda. Whether by passing new regulations through federal agencies or issuing executive orders, the Obama Administration has repeatedly bypassed Congress and the will of the American people.

In the realm of energy policy, Obama has made it clear that nothing will stand in the way of his so-called climate “legacy,” not the economy, not the livelihood of millions of Americans, nor basic common sense. Last year the federal bureaucracy passed a litany of regulations distorting the free market and killing jobs to appease Obama’s climate agenda. This year, the EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) seek to continue this trend with a planned onslaught of new regulations.

It is no secret the EPA has spent the preceding years unveiling some of the most costly regulations in history. EPA regulators have tightened ozone standards, which will essentially erode the autonomy of local government with increased federal oversight. EPA also sought to further control energy producers by regulating methane emissions, the costs of which will inevitably be passed onto consumers in the form of higher energy rates. Additionally, the EPA extended its power with the Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS), which will allow it to regulate private property anywhere that water can conceivably flow.

Above all, the most onerous of new EPA regulations is the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which will force power plants to take costly measures to reduce carbon emissions or face hefty fines. Because of these costs, electricity rates will skyrocket in all 50 states, with double-digit increases in at least 40 states.

This year the EPA plans to further satiate its hunger for power. In a recent post on the EPA’s official blog, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote that she plans to hit the ground running in 2016. Among her goals are to increase fuel economy standards on heavy-duty vehicles, which will undoubtedly harm the trucking industry and thus increase the costs of all consumer goods. Another EPA objective will be to regulate “light pollution." This means she wants the power to decide how Americans can use the lights in their homes and operate their cars.

The EPA aren’t the only bureaucrats getting in on the action. Obama’s DOE is also working on dozens of new regulations on everything from computers, refrigerators, ovens, and fans, to furnaces, vending machines, and pools. These proposed rules will cost manufacturers millions and increase consumer costs. For example, the proposed rule on furnaces will cost an estimated $741 million every year, for a total cost of $12 billion. Much of this burden will fall on small business owners, who will have to forfeit an estimated 18% of total revenue to comply with this rule.

However, the federal bureaucracy’s overreach may be slowed as the EPA is facing a number of legal challenges. Most notably the 27 state Attorney Generals that have filed lawsuits over the CPP, and nine Attorney Generals that have filed suit over the EPA’s ozone standard. The EPA is also facing legal issues for its use of propaganda to support the WOTUS Rule.

Obama has made it all to clear he will ignore the political process in favor of vast executive powers during his final year in office, and will continue to use his EPA and DOE cronies to enact more regulations in order to preserve his “legacy.” One can only hope Congress and the American people can prevent the President and federal bureaucracy he commands from fulfilling their 2016 resolution to acquire more power at the expense of state sovereignty and economic progress.

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